“You probably saved his arm” – WWE Referee Jimmy Korderas recalls Kurt Angle/Daniel Puder incident
Veteran referee Jimmy Korderas has detailed his experience in refereeing the shoot wrestling match that took place between Kurt Angle and Tough Enough entrant Daniel Puder in 2004.
In a recent interview with Michael Morales of Lucha Libre Online, the former WWE official explained how he was initially confused when the young Puder was successfully able to trap Kurt Angle in a kimura arm lock. Korderas said he instinctively gave Puder a three-count, despite his shoulders not fully being down on the mat. The decision was made because Korderas could see that Kurt Angle was struggling during the fight.
“Kurt (Angle) was supposed to wrestle with whoever won that challenge. But then he went kind of on his own (off script) and said: ‘Does anybody else want to challenge me?’ That’s when Daniel Puder put up his hand. He got in. They started on a more amateur style of wrestling contest. I didn’t know it at the time because I wasn’t versed in MMA, (but) a Kimura Lock, that he has placed on Kurt that I just knew was not good. I kinda looked back at Al Snow who was standing in the corner and he looked at me and went (mimics a worried look). We looked at each other. When they fell and Daniel Puder fell on his back, I said: ‘I’m counting. I don’t care’”.
“I started counting and he may roll up his shoulder after two but I didn’t care. I counted three anyways. Thinking back, I should’ve thought: ‘This is amateur’. So I could’ve counted one and ended it like that. It was just a reactionary thing. I was thinking myself: ‘We had to end that somehow. What do I do?’ That’s what came to mind. Kurt was very upset at Puder. You saw that afterwards when they got into each other’s face”. – Lucha Libre Online
Fit Finlay said Jimmy Korderas probably “saved” Kurt Angle’s arm
Although the shoot wrestling fight was improvised, Jimmy Korderas counting Daniel Puder out was likely Kurt Angle’s saving grace. When Korderas entered the backstage area after the incident, Fit Finlay told him that he probably “saved” Kurt Angle’s arm from taking serious damage.
“When I walked to the back, I walked through Gorilla (Position) and Gerald Brisco gave me a thumbs up. I was kind of avoiding everybody. Then Fit Finlay came to me. He asked me: ‘Who told you to count?’ I said: ‘No one. I just reacted’. He said: ‘You probably saved his arm’”.
Daniel Puder went on to win the Tough Enough competition. However, he was released by WWE in late 2005.